FRISCO, Texas —
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was in a giving mood, paving the way for the Cowboys defense to force more takeaways against the Eagles than they had all season, but the Cowboys failed to secure the win, falling 23-9.
"Whether you lose by one point or you lose by 20, and you can have 100 turnovers or no turnovers losing sucks, just the simple answer,” said Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. "Being a competitor, you don’t want to lose."
Wentz tossed out turnovers like they were Halloween candy. You get a turnover, you get a turnover.
On the Eagles first possession, Wentz drifted back in the pocket, and as he was rolling left for some strange reason, he didn’t just throw the ball out of bounds, which would have been legal because he was out of the pocket. Instead, he allowed Donavan Wilson to strip the ball and give the Cowboys possession deep in Eagles territory at the 25-yard line.
"We’re doing a better job understanding our coaches, playing all together as one,” said defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence. "We showcased that tonight, and I feel like we’re getting better and better each week."
But as was the theme most of the night, the Cowboys couldn’t take advantage of the gift.
Pocket awareness is a must in the NFL, and rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci didn’t show enough in his first trip inside the red zone against Philadelphia. He held onto the ball too long with the Cowboys inside the Eagles’ 10-yard line, and he was sacked and fumbled.
The Eagles failed to convert a pair of fourth-down attempts in the first half. And on the first one, Wentz coughed the ball up for a second time. Vander Esch blitzed and was credited with a strip-sack that once again gave the Cowboys the ball in Eagles territory.
"As far as effort and play style we’re getting on the right track and it showed,” said Vander Esch.
Cowboys rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs grabbed his first career interception to snuff out an Eagles drive late in the second quarter. Carson Wentz threw to the end zone, and Diggs made a fantastic sliding catch. He managed to get his left shin inbounds to make the play.
"Just making a play on the ball, just having awareness of where you are on the field and making a play on the ball,” said Diggs.
Diggs picked off his second Wentz pass early in the third quarter when the Eagles tried to go deep. Diggs picked it off in the endzone. The rookie second-round pick became the first Cowboy defender with a multi-interception game since Jeff Heath in 2015.
"It’s all about just staying down and dirty, getting to the quarterback up front,” said Lawrence, "Trevon did a hell of a job tonight getting the ball for us.”
Diggs showed resilience making those plays after the Eagles picked on the rookie for parts of the game, getting beat on a long pass, and the Eagles' first touchdown of the game. He was also beat for a score later.
"You just got to keep fighting. That’s the beauty of the position,” said Diggs. "We’re all professionals, so you know they’re going to catch some passes you just got to respond, keep competing throughout the whole game."
The Cowboys defense played much better and finally snapped a historically bad streak of giving up 20-or-more points in the first half of games. The streak had reached six consecutive games, which is the new NFL record.
The Cowboys were able to force three turnovers in one game for the first time since week 13 of the 2017 season against Washington, according to ESPN stats and information.
But with a chance to take the lead with five minutes left in the game, the Cowboys couldn’t cash in. DiNucci was pressured on a drop back, and he once again fumbled and after. Scrambling for the football, Eagles defensive back Rodney McCleod returned it for a touchdown, all but sealing the victory.